Episode #504: Riveting Read
First Broadcast: 3/23/09
Repeated: 6/8/09; 2/22/10
The ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody, by the International Committee of the Red Cross, is the read in question. Mark Danner of The New York Review of Books came to this inescapable conclusion after reading it:
Beginning in the spring of 2002 the United States government began to torture prisoners. This torture, approved by the President of the United States and monitored in its daily unfolding by senior officials, including the nation's highest law enforcement officer, clearly violated major treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture, as well as US law.
There are some equally unsavory conditions in addition to that; needless to say, I told you so.
In other news: a strong majority of this country supports government efforts to stop A.I.G. from dishing out multi-million dollar bonuses to the executives who sunk the company and the economy in the first place. Who's not in this majority? A certain right-wing radio host who thinks if anyone isn't stinking rich, then it's their own damn fault--never mind outside influences like layoffs, a bad economy, companies moving overseas, foreclosures, medical emergencies, hurricanes, and who knows what else. Didn't John Donne say "No man is an island"? I guess some people still haven't figured that one out.
Episode #505: Whiny Rich People
First Broadcast: 3/30/09
The current recession seems to be bringing out the worst instincts of many capitalists and their enablers, with CNBC's Rick Santelli and former A.I.G. executive Jake DeSantis being among the worst offenders. In their eyes (and the eyes of many other despicable people), the poor homeowners who got screwed by mortage brokers are the ones responsible for the recession, while the securities traders who helped sell these "toxic" assets throughout the world are merely innocent bystanders who deserve every dollar of every bonus, regardless if every dollar comes from federal government bail-outs which taxpayers intended to be used to keep people employed and in their homes, as opposed to rewarding the financial wizards who got us into this mess in the first place. I wonder how much extra revenue could be raised if the country came to its senses and decided to legalize and tax marijuana, instead of acting like Hillary Clinton and asking for more cops to arrest people? And will the M.T.A.'s fare hikes wipe out any gains we're supposed to get from President Obama's middle class tax cut? So many questions! So little answers!
Episode #506: Match To Light The Fire
First Broadcast: 4/13/09
Card skimmers are attacking Chase ATM's in the East Village! Obama reminds everyone that the U.S. is a secular nation, and calls for an end to nuclear weapons! A Spanish judge wants to do what American prosecutors have yet to do: indict Bush adminstration officials who authorized torture in Gunatanamo Bay and elsewhere! I can only hope that things develop on some of these fronts a little further.
Episode #507: Stop Sleeping With Your Pigs
First Broadcast: 5/4/09 Video levels appeared to be set too low, and audio levels sounded as if they were set too high.
From a brief flashback to the Ritz Thrift Shop, to a discussion veering from the local whereabouts of Pepsi Throwback to the virtues of Mexican Coca-Cola, we finally get around to talking about the recent outbreak of swine flu. We further point out that, despite its outsize presence in New York City, the fact remains that the percentage of people in both Mexico and the United States who are actually infected is very, very, very small (as in, more than 99.99% of the populations of both countries are not infected). In fact, I'd say the odds are extremely good that if you're reading this right now, you probably do not have the swine flu. So, use some common sense and don't panic. P.S.: Guess which network didn't get called on at President Obama's latest news conference? Fox, of course. What's that saying about reaping what you sow?
Episode #508: Police of the Sea
First Broadcast: 5/18/09
Star Trek, the unemployment rate, Obama's reversal on disclosing torture photos, and Jesse Ventura's comtempt for Dick Cheney are all on display here tonight. Personally, I preferred Star Trek the most.
Episode #509: Terror Cell Inside A Prison Cell
First Broadcast: 5/25/09
The Senate voted 90 to 6 to deny funding for President Obama's efforts to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for all kinds of ridiculous rationales, including this bit of nonsense spouted by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid:
REID: Iím saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. Thatís very clear.
QUESTION: No oneís talking about releasing them. Weíre talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.
REID: Canít put them in prison unless you release them.
QUESTION: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit?
REID: I canít make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.
Of course. Because, obviously, transferring the inmates in Guantanamo Bay means letting them run free around the United States. Fucking idiot. How can a nation that has more prisoners than any other country on the planet be afraid of putting more people in prison!? How can an inmate who ate someone's brain be somehow less dangerous than the "detainees" in Cuba? Shouldn't we be more worried about those videos of child abuse at Abu Ghraib that Seymour Hersh says the Pentagon possesses right now? Priorities, people!
Episode #510: Statements of the Obvious
First Broadcast: 6/1/09
Number One: Rush Limbaugh (a.k.a. Pumpkinhead) is an idiot for calling Sonia Sontomayor a "racist," and for calling Barack Obama a "reverse racist" for nominating her to the Supreme Court. This ridiculous tirade of his (and others) is based on this one sentence from a speech given in 2002:
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Even from that one sentence, it's obvious that there's nothing racist about this. A wise woman with experience would make better decisions than a not-wise male without experience? I think anyone who has ever been through a job interview would have to agree that this statement by itself is a no-brainer. Put in context, the "racist" label makes even less sense:
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possbility I abhor less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapaable of understanding the values or needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.
I would hope that this would settle that, but I suppose you can never underestimate the craziness of the right wing these days.
In other news, another nemesis of Howard Stern's, "Mancow", allegedly underwent a waterboarding session on video, and could take only six second's worth before giving up and declaring it "torture." That should be a success tory, right? Former dismisser of torture admits that torture is torture when tortured? But now, information has come out that the "waterboarding" as seen on that video is not actual waterboarding the way it was done in Guantanamo Bay, and that "Mancow" still thinks waterboarding is an acceptable thing to do in certain situations, and insists that what he went through was "not a hoax." So, what have we learned from all this? Radio sucks without Howard Stern, that's for sure.
Episode #511: Whores Instead of Sluts
First Broadcast: 6/15/09
For whatever reason, Florida resident and billionaire Tom Golisano encouraged two "Democrats" in the New York State Senate to join with all 30 Republicans and vote for a new Republican President of the Senate, a suprise move that led the Democrats to immediately end the session for the day, interrupt the television feed, turn off the lights, and lock the doors to the Senate after everyone left. One of these Democrats, Pedro Espada, apparently does not live in the district he represents; the other, Hiram Monserrate, allegedly slashed his girlfriend's face with broken glass. Are the Republicans so stupid that they think the residents of New York State will appreciate a legislature that acts more a third-world coup than rational politicians? Are the Democrats so disorganized that their members can be turned over (or was one of them bought?) so easily? And are the voters in these districts so stupid that they will continue to send these idiots back to Albany to represent them again? Can we just vote everyone out in the next election? P.S.: Dick Cheney has looked sinister for a long time, as a photo in a recent Nation article clearly shows.